Ideally, center areas of the classroom have a variety of hands-on materials and meaningful activities that are available for children to choose from. I know many teachers say "there is no time for centers". I know people envision a Pre-K or Kindergarten room with areas set up such as blocks, art, library, computers, etc. Centers can be a desktop, a tub, or even a sack of materials!
Why use Centers?
Centers give the teacher more time to interact with students!
Individual needs can be met through flexible grouping and varied activities.
Centers allow for individual learning styles.
Students get to choose activities so centers encourage positive behaviors.
Students are successful in centers so they build self-concept
Children get to: explore, discover, create, practice, apply skills, problem solve, use critical thinking skills, become independent learners, and collaborate with peers!
When I had centers going on in my classrom, I could monitor, but also work with small groups or individual children as needed. Centers were a time when I got most of my academic work completed! As the teacher, I really got to know my students, and what they knew or what we needed to work on.
Think about how many centers you have room for, or where you would put them.
How structured do you want your centers to be?
How often do you want students to have the opportunity to use centers?
How will centers work in your schedule?
What are your goals and objectives for centers?
Ultimately, why are you using centers?
I go into so many classrooms THAT ARE EARLY CHILDHOOD and they are structured so there is no time for centers. Remember centers are a great way to re-teach, practice, and enhance learning!